When the old Environment Canterbury (ECAN) building was compromised in the 2010-11 Canterbury earthquakes, the Regional Council teams were scattered across multiple buildings. It soon became high priority to get all ECAN staff back into one building. In 2014, Naylor Love Canterbury began construction of the new, purpose-built ECAN office.
Designed by Wilson & Hill Architects, the five-storey building now provides 8500m² of office space and car park for over 450 staff. The 6000m² site also has a separate two storey cycle and locker building that can store 120 cycles and acts as a changing facility for those biking to work.
The inclusion of several earthquake-resistant strategies plus a string of green elements made this a tricky build for the experienced construction team, says Naylor Love's project director on the job, Stephen Lynch.
"The building's seismic preparedness begins with Continuous Flight Auger piling a quiet, fast and economical form of piling driven 16m below ground," says Lynch.
"The innovative building is also base isolated below ground floor due to a combination of lead-rubber bearings and pot bearing sliders, tuned to give a positive overall performance in a seismic event. The superstructure is designed to remain in its elastic range up to a seismic event with an annual probability of one in a 1000 years."
However, this is only part of the complex seismic-resistant story. The combination of base isolation, tuning the concrete frames for compatible response, and articulation of the building's crisscrossing internal atrium bridges has resulted in relative differential movements that are absorbed within the internal bridge structures without need for seismic separation.